Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Portrait of my Father

This picture was taken May 8, 2005 in the late afternoon. It was Mother's Day, and we had had a big family get-together at my uncle's house up the street - we all realized it was a going away party for my uncle, who had just come back from the hospital and would go back in a week for the last time. It was also the last time that my sister saw our dog Haley - who she had found some 11 years earlier living in a drainage ditch in Maryland - alive. (Both my uncle and my dog would die two weeks after this photo was taken.)

I had returned from the party and was sitting at the kitchen table reviewing the photos of my cousins' children at play when I looked up and was struck by the similarity of the scene before me to the painting commonly known as "Whistler's Mother" (I believe it is more formally known as A Study In Gray and Black.) My father is sitting in his chair watching TV - which is how he had spent much of the previous six months, since increasing unsteadiness and confusion had curtailed his neighborhood walks.

Some explanation of the things in the photo. The blocky effect seen in the wall is a JPEG artifact. The pink Post-It note that says "DO NOT USE" is taped over a malfunctioning lightswitch, one of two that controlled the kitchen ceiling fan.
The marks along the edge of the doorway are height measurements for my nephews, my mother, and me. The fan-like object that appears to be facing my father is actually a pinwheel on a much closer rocker, a favorite toy of our cats (one of which is laying on the back of the rocker next to the pinwheel.)

The funeral is Saturday morning - 8:30 at the funeral home, 9:00 services at the church. Viewing is Friday, sometime in the afternoon and then 7:00 - 9:00 in the evening. I'll send a link to the online obituary and directions to the funeral home, church, and cemetery tomorrow to anybody who needs it - just let me know.

The funeral will be held Saturday at 8:30 from Earl W. Lohman Funeral Home, 14 W. Green St., Nanticoke, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 9 in St. Mary's Church, Nanticoke. Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hanover Township. Friends may call Friday, 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.


Anonymous said...

Harold, a beautiful picture, an even more beautiful explanation.

We'll help you get thru this my friend.

I love you.

Anonymous said...

Harold, we all need the link. Please send to me and I will forward here at work.